- Dr. Charli Valdez, English
The two guiding questions of this project will be: 1. How has the pandemic impacted undocumented Latin American immigrants and their families? And, more specifically, 2. How have they been impacted by The Great Resignation?
The Latinx community overall has fared poorer through the pandemic compared to other demographics. Nearly 3x more likely to die from COVID, their median weekly earnings have grown slowest, their unemployment spiked the highest (and recovered least), and they’ve reported the largest increase in food insufficiency in April, 2020 (Zamarippa).
The hope is to explore and extend from this quantitative data by not only lending it (qualitative) individual voices, but also by reaching out to communities that data often fails to find. Providinga human face to an identity as maligned as the “illegal immigrant” “alien” may seem a tedious and slow-moving project, but is crucial to moving people’s perceptions and a culture fraught with dehumanizing memes, narratives, and hate speech. The other issue at play here is to give voice precisely to the communities that data too frequently fails to map. Undocumented immigrants fear responding to surveys and participating in the census given a life of living under the threat of vigilante violence, targeted ransom-kidnappings, and deportation.
This project will be a collaboration of student and faculty work and research. A longer video, with the help of UNH students, will be edited & published on YouTube and shown at a MUB screening in the late fall of 2022. The video footage will also be used to target a broad spectrum of 20-something adults via Tik Tok, Twitter, and Instagram. This work will rely on the innate and intuitive skills of Mosaico, ENGL 560 and ENGL 650 students. As part of their coursework, they will cull through video footage, select clips they find most compelling, and compose micro-narratives (in both still and video formats) to be published on social media that best suit the work. To anchor these publications, they will create and link channels on different platforms and also follow/network the posts to relevant organizations and individuals.
About Doctor Valdez
Being from a family that dates back decades to the high desert of what is now New Mexico, it is probably no surprise that my field is Latinx Studies. While my Ph.D. is in Creative Writing and Literature, increasingly I’ve been looking to film as the focus of my research, analysis, and curriculum. I’ve been assigning SVIC video projects as mid-term projects for my students for a few years now and have been expanding on my video production and videography skills in growing sympathy with them in their work.
Prior to graduate school, I worked at the PCUN farmworker union in Oregon. The conversations I had there with our members were life-altering for me and I want to share that kind of experience with others